Cruse Bereavement Care is holding a free webinar on Monday March 29th at 11am to discuss emotional loneliness before and after a bereavement.
Emotional loneliness originates from the absence of an intimate figure or a close emotional attachment. Social and emotional loneliness often occur due to reduced social activities or loss of a partner, among other situations.
Effects of loneliness
Loneliness can exert a powerful influence over our health. Loneliness and isolation are associated with increased risk of dying, sleep problems, poor quality of life, frailty, heart attack, stroke, depression and dementia. There are multiple facets to loneliness: there are feelings of emptiness or abandonment associated with a lack of relationships or intimacy; there is the temporal perspective, (loneliness sets in over time) through which the individual perceives his or her own loneliness.
There is the set of emotional aspects that accompany loneliness, including sadness, melancholy, frustration, shame or desperation; and, there is the individual’s own subjective evaluation regarding the quality and quantity of his or her social relationships, built and rebuilt by the people in their lives, an evaluation which depends on the continuous interaction between factors which are rather diverse (identity, personality, expectations, life events, interpersonal engagement, socio-economic variables, household, etc.).
Keynote speaker for our Webinar, Professor Brian Lawlor has highlighted the health impacts of loneliness and isolation for years. He was a member of the loneliness taskforce, which in 2018 published a report titled ‘A Connected Island: An Ireland Free from Loneliness.’ Professor Lawlor says:
"We often hear of social loneliness, the more common form, where a person, young or old, does not have a peer group with whom they can connect to dissipate isolation. There is also emotional loneliness, where a person at any age loses a confidant and no longer has someone close to confide in. Bereavement is a common cause for emotional loneliness and so this is much more common with older people.
"The treatment for loneliness is first being aware of it. What we do for people who are lonely is help build connections for them, keep them involved. Loneliness is a pernicious condition, but it isn’t just a feeling. It can have a profound influence on physical and mental health. Sustained loneliness, whether emotional or social, causes physical damage and leaves sufferers at greater risk of developing clinical depression.
"Covid-19 has catapulted into stark relief the mental health effects of loneliness and isolation. High levels of anxiety, low mood and an increase in a sense of despair have been evident in calls to the Alone helpline during this period."
About the webinar
For Cruse, emotional loneliness is of key interest as people who are grieving are at a disadvantage when it comes to loneliness because the person they long for is gone. This webinar will explore the concept and attempt to provide an insight into emotional loneliness, helping us to recognise it within our work with clients.
This webinar has been organised as part of the Macmillan Cruse Project. One of the aims of this joint project is to understand and raise awareness of information and support which effectively supports individuals before and throughout bereavement. The webinar will address emotional loneliness in pre and post bereavement and also in the context of the Covid -19 pandemic. Those who have experienced emotional loneliness will discuss how they coped.
We will hear from Brian Lawlor, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Deputy Director of the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College, Dublin, Professor Roger O'Sullivan, Director of Ageing Research and Development and Professor Gerry Leavey, Director of the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing as they discuss the effects of emotional loneliness.